It is important to remember that smokers have either
come to the false conclusion that smoking isn't that bad for them (or other
people) or they are unable to control their addiction to nicotine. Either
way, they generally do not understand the discomfort, irritation and health
problems that their tobacco addiction brings to others.
While many nonsmokers become impatient and angry with smokers, we must
realize that most smokers are victims. The tobacco companies, together forming
a billion dollar indsutry, hires top market researchers, scientists and
other professionals to influence the buying habits of potential consumers.
Further, they pick on the weakest members of our society. Remember that
that most smokers began smoking around 13-14 years of age. Many of these
naive individuals have lower self-esteem, suffer social problems or come
from less-stable home environments.
Therefore, be firm but understanding with smokers. Due to their addiction,
they have lost track of reality. They wheeze, cough and spit up phlem as
they are slowly killing themselves. Shortly after finishing their last cigarette
their body begins demanding another. They no longer taste food as they used
to; they cannot run or be athletic as they once could; and in general, they
are a slave to this nasty habit.
How Smoking Affects You
Nonsmokers who live with or around smokers are more likely to develop cancer than other
nonsmoking adults. Second-hand smoke can enter a dwelling through windows,
gaps in walls, air spaces in light fixtures or through the ventilation systems.
As a general rule, if you can smell smoke you may be exposed to the harmful
If you have asthma, second-hand smoke can make your breathing problmes
Young children are especially sensitive to second-hand smoke. A baby
who is exposed to second-hand smoke is more likely to have lung disease
serious enough to need treatment in a hospital dunging the first two years
Children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to cough and wheeze
and to have middle ear problems.
What You Can Do
This is a difficult time for apartment and rental unit residents. Most states have relatively
clear laws that require facilities to be maintained in a safe manner. Yet
many apartment owners and landlords are unwilling to take the necessary
steps to protect their residents. Further, renters as a group are typically
underrepresented in our political process.
Don't get frustrated. There is help, but it is important to take smart
First, don't try to do this alone. Landlords and management groups frequently
have the ability to remove tenants who pose a political threat to their
Second, join a tenant association (who to contact). If there
is not one in your complex or local area, create one. In New Mexico, for example, you
only need two or more people to begin an association.
Next, have the leadership of the tenant association contact your landlord
or property management group. This should be a formal contact and the material
should be presented in writing. It is a good idea to send a copy of all
the presented materials "Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested."
Once the landlord or property management group has been officially notified
that a tenant association is involved, you, as an individual renter, are
generally protected. Let the tenant association do the work for you.
As an individual, do not take action. Ask the tenant association to take
steps for you. Have the association speak to the smokers who live near you;
have the association speak to the property management or landlord for you.
Also, have the association take pictures and document the problem. Remember,
it is best to work for a general property policy rather than a specific
policy just for you. This prevents you from being singled out.
InfoImagination © 2000 -- All Rights Reserved